If you’re a parent, you know about the dreaded disorder that comes from being exposed to your children all summer long. Yes, this thing called summer vacation can be hazardous to your health. It starts out with an innocent excitement that your children are out of school. You think about all the advantages of summer: no more getting up early, making lunches and driving them to school, sports and other activities. You can hardly wait for the days of fun and games to begin.

But a week into the long months ahead, you begin to think getting up wasn’t so bad after all. And how long does it take to make a bologna sandwich, anyway? By the end of the summer, you’ve joined a group of other desperate parents circulating a petition for year-round school. You know you’re ready for summer to end if you exhibit one or more of the following signs:

 Sign #1

You send your kids outside and lock the doors. Yes, at the beginning of summer, you had all sorts of activities and events planned for your children. They went to camp, took swimming lessons, visited the grandparents and went with you on vacation. It was all good until you looked at your calendar and realized there were three weeks left before school started. You’ve run out of places to dump—I mean entertain—your kids, and now they’re stuck at home with you for the remainder of the summer. As a good parent, you don’t want them playing video games all day long, so the only option is to send them out to the backyard and lock the door. Sure, the constant pounding on the back door and cries of “Let us in!” do get old, but hold your ground. School is almost here.

 Sign #2

Your mailbox is exploding with back-to-school sale advertisements. They began to arrive before the last week of school, but their tribe increases as the summer draws to a close. You must understand: these flyers and promotional pieces are not for you, but for your children. The stores have designed the ads to make sure kids know that all the stuff they bought last year is now nothing less than old-school. If their friends and acquaintances ever see them with these products, emotional scarring and alienation may result. Your school will go so far as asking the local stores to post a “Supplies Needed” list, which includes a $3 calculator that even NASA can’t figure out how to work.

 Sign #3

You call the Parenting Hotline and are put on hold. Yes, you and thousands of other parents find yourself deep in prayer, asking either for Jesus to come back or school to start. And at this point, you don’t care which one happens as long as it does so soon.

 Sign #4

You’re watching television when an advertisement for a drug comes on, and you find you have all of the symptoms. Do you feel tired? Do you find yourself wandering aimlessly around amusement parks looking for someone related to you? Do snow cone stains cover every white item you own? Are you now on a first-name basis with all the animals at the zoo? Can you buckle a child into a car seat blindfolded? Do you sit in your pajamas every day watching a young Spanish girl and a monkey go exploring? Then you may have Needmychildrentogobacktoschool Syndrome, and yes, there are products available to help you.

 Sign #5

If you hear “Let it Go” sung one more time, you just might . . . let it go.

Yes, summer can be a trying time for many parents, but it also can be a season to prepare your children for the next adventures in their lives. For example, moving up to the next grade is often scary. I remember when I went from elementary school into junior high. It was like entering a different world. In elementary school, we had the same teacher and classroom for every subject. Suddenly, the teacher kicked us out after 45 minutes and said we had to go find another classroom. We also had to take a new course called physical education, the dreaded “gym class.” Let’s just say there were items on the supply list that I’d never heard of.

As the summer ends, may I suggest that you prepare your children to enter the new school year with a Scripture verse? One I might recommend is Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 

And who knows? This might be a good verse for those who suffer from Needmychildrentogobacktoschool Syndrome, too.